Keogh plan

The Keogh Retirement Plan Explained

There are various retirement plans for self-employed and sole proprietorships. Keogh (Ke oh) Plan is also one of them. Keogh plan was a popular retirement plan for small businesses, self-employed individuals, partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Later, it declined in popularity with the arrival of individual/single 401(k)s and SEP IRAs reaching the top of the retirement plans list. Keogh Plan was referred to as “qualified plans” and “H. R. 10” by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Although Keogh plans still exist are used by those who work for unincorporated businesses. According to annual contribution limits, you can contribute to Keogh plans with pre-tax dollars. Keogh plans can be named as defined benefit plans that assure specific assets in retirement. Most options from Keogh plans are defined contribution plans which do not have an income guarantee. However, they allow the workers to enter a set portion of their salaries.

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Types of Keogh Plans

Different types of Keogh plans are explained below:

Money Purchase Plans (defined contribution plan)

A money purchase plan is a defined contribution plan similar to a profit-sharing plan. In this plan, companies have to pay annual contributions, whether their business turns profits or not. They are bound to pay the same contribution limit, which is less than 25% of compensation or $58,000 in 2021. Moreover, companies are required to pay contributions of $6,500 for workers over 50.

Profit-Sharing Plans (defined contribution plans)

A profit-sharing plan is also a type of defined-contribution plan that requires companies to invest the lesser of 25% of compensation or 58,000 in 2021 and $61,000 in 2022. However, individuals who are 50 or older are required to contribute the annual maximum of $64,500 in 2021 and $67,500 in 2022.

Qualified Defined Benefit Plans

Qualified defined benefit plans guarantee a defined benefit plan for retirees according to the amount based on years of their service. As of 2021, the maximum annual benefit is the lesser of 100% of employee compensation or $230,000 per year.

History of Keogh Plan

history keogh plan

Keogh plan was named after a famous New York Congressman, Eugene James Keogh. He was a great influence in the journey of the Self-Employed Individuals Tax Retirement Act of 1962, a law that allows unincorporated businesses to contribute to retirement plans for workers and employees.

However, now IRS has claimed Keogh plan is outdated. Therefore, the Keogh plan is now a qualified retirement plan or HR 10s. In 2001, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act led to big changes in tax-advantaged retirement plans.

Keogh Plans are much similar to 401 (k)s, except that they have higher annual contribution limits specifically for small businesses. These plans are beneficial for only particular employees and self-employed individuals such as lawyers, dentists and financial professionals.

How do Keogh plans work?

Like other retirement accounts, Keogh plans to put your money related commitments in various resources, like stocks, securities, and ETFs. You, and possibly your manager, may make pre-charge commitments to a Keogh plan up as far as possible set by the IRS, itemized beneath.

Whenever now is the ideal time to pull out from your Keogh plan, you can decide to accept your cash in portions or a singular amount. You might pick how regularly your portion instalments are made and the sum in each. Assuming you pick a single amount, it is burdened once on the sum that you would have paid, assuming you had gathered in portions, decreasing the all-out charge hit.

Independently employed proprietors of private ventures and restricted obligation organizations may likewise open their Keogh plans. These passing bosses should set up Keogh plans for their representatives who have worked at the organization for somewhere around 1,000 hours north of at least three years.

Precedent-based regulation workers, accomplices and self-employed entities can’t set up Keogh plans.

Keogh Plan Limitations

Once more, a Keogh plan is more uncommon than virtually any remaining sorts of retirement plans. Likewise, it accompanies a bunch of impediments.

Initial, a Keogh plan includes significantly more regulatory, administrative work than a customary IRA or a SEP IRA. The individual can set up most other retirement plans; a Keogh plan includes a muddled arrangement of computations.

Second, a Keogh plan can’t be involved by independently employed people who work as self-employed individuals. They must be utilized by people who own an unincorporated business (and the representatives who work for that business).

At last, any commitment made to a Keogh plan should be done pre-charge, which implies that the sum is deducted from the duty for the year. However, all expenses should be settled completely on the arrangement’s equilibrium at retirement.

Keogh Plans’ Rules & Regulations

Rules & Regulations

The guidelines for a Keogh plan are like those appropriate to numerous other retirement plans for the independently employed:

  • Commitments are charged deductible up as far as possible.
  • Cash in a Keogh plan can be contributed and developed on duty conceded premise until retirement.
  • Withdrawals can be made punishment free after 59 ½. You are dependent upon a 10% punishment for early withdrawals except if a difficulty exclusion applies.
  • You are expected to take resigned least disseminations after age 72
  • Common annual expense applies to withdrawals.
  • You can turn over a Keogh plan into a customary or Roth IRA yet may owe charges on a Roth transformation.

In any case, Keogh plans must be utilized by independently employed people and unincorporated organizations. Whenever you start a Keogh plan, you’re committed to taking on a composed arrangement as per the necessities of IRS Publication 560, albeit numerous monetary establishments. For example, banks and business firms can give you model plans the IRS has approved.

You’re additionally expected to record IRS Form 5500 every year.

Pros and Cons of Keogh plans

It’s vital to comprehend the advantages and disadvantages of a Keogh plan before picking it as your retirement investment funds vehicle.

Keogh plans offer adaptability to independently employed specialists putting something aside for retirement. Keogh plans can be opened as either a characterized commitment or characterized benefit plan, giving choices to design supporters to browse in light of their retirement objectives.

Furthermore, Keogh plans have high IRS commitment limits, making them a more alluring choice to forceful savers.

Nonetheless, since more current retirement accounts have upstaged Keogh plans, they might be more diligently to find. Keogh plans are likewise more muddled, including more managerial obstacles and expenses. This incorporates the logical requirement for proficient administration because the computations are expected to set up a characterized benefit plan.


  • They offer higher contribution limits than other retirement plan.
  • They provide two options defined contribution and defined benefit plan assets.
  • They deal with pre-tax contributions.


  • It might require more expert and professional management.
  • Keogh plans have more administrative paperwork and costs compared to other retirement plan.
  • Keogh plans are restricted to self-employed workers and business owners.

Keogh plans were laid out through regulation by Congress in 1962 and were initiated by Rep. Eugene Keogh. Similarly, as with other qualified retirement accounts, assets can be gotten to as soon as age 59½, and withdrawals should start by age 72, or 70½ on the off chance that you were 70½ before Jan. 1, 2020.2

Keogh plans have more authoritative weights and higher upkeep costs than Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or 401(k) plans. However, as far as possible are higher, making Keogh arrangements a famous choice for some top-level salary entrepreneurs. Since current duty retirement regulations don’t separate joined and independently employed arrangement supports, the expression “Keogh plan” is seldom utilized.

Keogh vs. 401(k)

Keogh vs. 401(k)

A 401(k) plan is a more current option in contrast to a Keogh plan, and keeping in mind that they have likenesses, their disparities have helped the 401(k) acquire ubiquity.

A 401(k) is a worker supported, qualified, characterized commitment plan. Ordinarily, workers can open a 401(k), assuming that their manager offers one. The worker makes commitments, and now and then, contingent upon their approaches, the business will also contribute a rate.

While Keogh plans are accessible to just independently employed laborers and their workers, 401(k) plans are generally available. The people who are independently employed can open a solo 401(k), otherwise called a one-member 401(k) or individual 401(k), which are practically indistinguishable from customary 401(k) plans.

One-member 401(k) plans permit independently employed labourers to contribute an extra 25% of net profit to the record on the customary commitment limits ($19,500 in 2021), adding up to $58,000 for 2021.

401(k) plans are generally simple to set up and make due and don’t accompany the managerial weights that Keogh plans do.

Arthur Karter


Hi, I’m Arthur, and nobody wants to wake up in their 50s like me that they are in serious debt with minimal assets. This wake-up call forced me to reevaluate everything. After going through the school of Hard Knocks, I’m ready to help you by sharing the best retirement choices and how they differ from all the same-old, same-old options that financial advisors sell. These alternatives will help you build and protect your wealth.

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